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Up to 1,200 jobs at risk as Asda scales back bakeries

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Written by: Emma Lunn
15/04/2021
The supermarket chain has said that it will ‘restructure’ its bakeries following changes in customers’ buying habits for baked goods.

The chain currently employs bakers who make bread in store from scratch. But now it has said it plans to move to a central bakery and deliver pre-baked breads to its supermarkets.

About 1,200 employees across 341 stores could be affected by the move, with staff either made redundant or moved to a new role within the company. The supermarket will carry out a formal consultation with its bakers and bakery managers.

Derek Lawlor, Asda’s head of merchandising, said: “The current in-store bakery model has restricted our ability to respond to changing customer demands.

“The changes we are proposing will deliver a much better and more consistent bakery offering for customers across all our stores. We know these proposed changes will be unsettling for colleagues and our priority is to support them during this process.”

Rival supermarket Tesco made a similar decision to do less baking in store last year.

Asda’s announcement comes just weeks after it lost a court case about equal pay. The Supreme Court upheld an earlier court ruling that means shop floor staff at Asda (mostly women) can be compared to workers in the distribution centre (mostly men) for the purposes of their equal pay claim.

Roger Jenkins, GMB Union national officer, said: “Asda’s plans to scrap baking their products from scratch on site and replace them with part-baked products from mass producers is not good for the consumer.

“Over 1,000 skilled bakers are now at risk of losing their jobs. GMB calls on Asda to retain these valuable skilled employees and continue to offer the customer truly fresh produce baked by professional bakers.”

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